William Shaker is a thirteen year veteran of the online business scene. He is also the host of “Endless Possibilities“, a weekly podcast dedicated to anyone who has ever wanted to make it big in business and in life.
Last week was super-exciting for us because Mr. Shaker got to interview our very own Rob Rawson, the CEO and co-founder of Time Doctor.
Here’s the excerpt of the EP014 podcast:
William: Tell us a little bit about what you do.
Rob: I was originally a medical doctor, a completely different line of business. But, I started playing around with different online businesses and ventures. I had some early success with affiliate and Google AdSense type of businesses. Now, I am focusing on Staff.com which is a global business to recruit and allow access to talent from any country in the world.
William: What made you do this kind of business?
Rob: There was a time when I was in the Philippines and I had an office with around 35 staff. I later on noticed that having an office was not really necessary so I wanted to transition from working in an office to working from home. So, I built the software and technology for my staff to be able to work from home. Eventually, this technology helped other businesses too. This was how Time Doctor and Staff.com was built.
William: Where do you see yourself in the next 5 to 10 years in this business?
Rob: Our goal is to create a million jobs. That sounds impossible. But, I have a plan to create a million work from home jobs from around the world. We need to set our financial situation to at least $100 million to achieve that.
William: I am really happy that you mentioned that you want to create these jobs. The creation of the jobs are a lot more important than the money itself. Once you provide the value out there, the money automatically comes in.
William: Tell us a little bit about your medical career history, how you got into that and why you stopped.
Rob: I studied medicine for 6 years but only worked for 2 years. I have always had that entrepreneurial spirit so I started an online marketing business during my medical degree. I pursued different types of businesses. I was spending one week a month as a medical doctor and the other three weeks I was tinkering with different online businesses. That’s how I started.
William: Give me a little story about how much you made in the beginning and how long it took you to make this much money.
Rob: One of the websites I created was a satellite TV website. I hired a university student to build that site. It got listed on DMOZ, an affiliate program was built and AdSense was set up. In a short period, it was making $8000 a month. This was just the beginning.
William: How do you feel about failure? Do you believe that it is a necessary ingredient for success?
Rob: I’ve had a lot of failures and little businesses that completely flopped. I had thousands of crazy little ideas that didn’t work. I just move on from one idea to the next. That is how I deal with my failures. Most of these failures were just low cost.
William: What was your biggest blunder?
Rob: My biggest blunders are in investing. I made some major mistakes in this aspect. For instance, one guy in the U.S ran away with 300,000 of my money. I also made an investment in the Japanese stock market worth over 350,000 and lost around 50% of that. You have to be willing to fail. You just have to continue to try until you succeed.
William: When you failed, what did you learn from it and how did you things more intelligently after that?
Rob: One, I became more knowledgeable about what it takes to achieve. This was what helped me create these vision and goals. Second, I realized and had a good understanding on the difference between poor versus good quality business ideas.
William: What are the struggles most entrepreneurs face when outsourcing?
Rob: One of the most important things is to select the right staff from the beginning. People are a little too casual about that. In our case, we put our developers into multiple testing procedures and have them go through interview. Each test will help us see their real life abilities for the actual skills they need to be doing for their job.
William: What are some of the efficient ways of testing these candidates?
Rob: For a virtual assistant for example, I would think about what they would actually do on the job. I would then give them a question that would relate to that. If it’s researching, I’d let them do research. If it’s for calling someone, I would let them do a mock call. If they will be doing customer service, I will give them customer service questions.
William: If someone was completely new to outsourcing, how do they ensure they are picking the right people?
Rob: There are two different types of work here. One is the project or short term kind of work. In that case, go for someone with a lot of good reviews and a lot of good experience. You can then trust them without spending a lot of time evaluating them.
If you are looking at someone for the long term, looking at the reviews is not the necessary way to go. They may not have the time to get those reviews but they may really be a superstar. In that case, you may want to do the evaluation via your own tests based on the skills that you need.
William: If you had 10,000 dollars and you wanted a huge return, what would you do to create this kind of business using outsourcing?
Rob: There are a lot of opportunities right now to use outsourcing for a business to get that much return. But. it is more of an intensive hands on type of business. Something like a service type of business. For example, you can approach businesses with websites and help them improve it (e.g. making it mobile responsive, online promotions) with an outsource team.
William: If someone were to start from scratch and they wanted to make money right away, what would you advise them to do?
Rob: Besides getting into a service type of business, the other option you could look at is a content type of business. You can go into a specific niche. For example, parenting. You can then develop a following with a podcast, a website, a list and develop a revenue out of that.
You just have to make sure you have your revenue methods in place (sponsorships, affiliate revenue, products, etc) while you are doing it. There are so many opportunities on the Internet and it’s just getting larger.
William: What are some of the basic fundamentals that any business owner must get right to succeed? And, where do most business owners go wrong?
Rob: It has something to do with the level of persistence and the level of scaling your activities. For example, some people would say that “I tried that but it didn’t work.” But, what they are actually saying is “I tried that 3 or 4 times but it didn’t work.” Take massive action when you go into a new strategy.
William: How do you get more traffic to your website?
Rob: Some of the things we’ve done:
- Posting on question and answer sites like Quora.
- Content generation strategy (e.g. creating infographics and approaching other sites if they would like to post the infographic and link back to our site)
- Approach people on Twitter who are seeking for help that would relate to our business.
- Going to Google+ Communities and participating in discussions
- Share articles on Linkedin groups
- Using Slideshare to repurpose our content
- If you have software, you can submit to software directories. (I suggest you build one)
- Getting into podcasts is also a good strategy.
- Guest posting
I have team of VA’s that can work on all of these strategies. All of these tasks can be outsourced.
William: What are some efficient apps that you use on a regular basis?
- Jing Project – app for taking screenshots and videos of your screen. It makes it easy for training and communicating with your staff or virtual assistants.
- Asana – a project management tool to help you easily communicate with your team.
William: What are some of the books you have read that changed your life?
Rob: I read a lot of Warren Buffet stuff. Also, The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
You can catch more William Shaker and Endless Possibilities Podcasts here: williamshaker.com/itunes
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